We have been to Asia de Cuba in St Martins Lane Hotel a few times now; designed by Philippe Starck; a brilliant collision of influences – from the modern to the baroque – that suffuses the hotel with energy, vitality and magic. As you walk through the lime green glass doors you are hit by a light reception that is styled sophisticatedly to the mas. There are gold seats in the shape of a tooth, a 15 foot lamp that’s shade is made of leaves and pink roses and large scale chess pieces. As you walk through to the restaurant there are additional furnishings such as a gold chase lounge that has a vibrant zebra quilt flung over it and a minimalist reception desk that allows the furnishing to do all the talking.
As we walked into the restaurant the ultra-modern design is mirrored. This is refreshing as often restaurants take on a style of their own and do not flow.The restaurant is on two floors and there are five ceiling high pillars that dominate the room. Two pillars are crowded full of pictures of Asia and its people, another has a leather stuffed pillow type feel with buttons, and the final two hold a mass of books with occasional ornaments dotted around. We found it hard not to be dazzled by the decadent furnishings to the point of having to mentally concentrate on our companions.
We ordered the pre-theatre menu which is brilliant value for money. We ordered the king crab salad which was huge when it came out. The king crab is covered with a tempura batter alongside a delicious papaya and banana salad. The rich tempura was refreshed by the tropical fruit and although it was delicious we could not finish it all off. (please don’t look so shocked).
For the main course we ordered the lamb fillet with a potato puree and sea bass that was served in a banana leaf. We also ordered a side of coconut rice and bok choy in a lemon and soy dressing. The food came out promptly (possibly a little too promptly) and small talk was at a minimum. The lamb was succulently pink and with very little fat, just enough to keep the meat nice and moist. We often find lamb can be rather fatty so we were pleasantly surprised. The sea bass with grilled in a sticky sauce similar tasting to teriyaki. It was delicious and the roasted skin stuck deliciously to the leaf so that it was caramelised with the intense heat of the grill. The rice was sticky and light with a nice hint of coconut flavour.
Asia De Cuba is great value for money, has an incredible atmosphere and professional service. The food is delicious, big in portion but we get the feeling that they chose design and ingredients over authenticity but then again that is not always a bad thing. Change is good and this stylised design flows from the hotel, snakes in to the restaurants and on to the menu. Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls awards Asia de Cuba:
Food Atmosphere Service